Thursday, April 2, 2009

Colorado Rockies Management Is Putting A Great Team On The Field


While the rest of Denver is focused on the trade that will make the Denver Broncos go 2-14 in 2009, there are still a few focused on the upcoming week. A time when hope will once again be renewed and the first pitches of the brand new baseball season will be thrown.

The Colorado Rockies have narrowed down their roster to the final 26 players. They have only one last roster decision, the battle for the last spot in the bullpen between Matt Belisle and Juan Morillo, before they have their opening day roster set.

The general feeling from Rockies fans this offseason was that the team was cheap. They thought that they were willing to sell off the heart and soul of their franchise for little to nothing. The feelings were negative overall towards the franchise. Anytime a fan had a chance to comment on newspaper websites, the name calling was rampant in regards to the owners, Dick and Charlie Monfort, the GM Dan O'Dowd, and Manager Clint Hurdle.

Most fans felt that ownership was cheap and looking to line their own wallets and therefore had no intention of offering All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday a six year deal in the range of $150 to $160 million. The other feeling was that the team recieved little to nothing in the trade.

While at some point, the Rockies will need to open up their pockets again, they have been gun shy since the failed Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle deals, this was not the time to do it.

The fact is, when Matt Holliday hired Scott Boras as his agent, the Rockies had little or no chance to sign Holliday beyond his arbitration years. Boras is well known for having his players test the free agent waters before signing a long term deal.

If Holliday reached free agency with the Rockies they would surely be outbid by the likes of the Yankees or Red Sox. Colorado is by no means as small of a market as say Tampa Bay or Milwaukee, but they do not have even close to the financial firepower as the Yankees.

Tracy Ringolsby, hall of fame writer formerly of the Rocky Mountain News, wrote about an interesting fact about this season's Rockies payroll on his new website http://www.insidetherockies.com/. It ranks second only to the 2001 season, and by only a few thousand dollars at that.

Now, obviously with inflation the 2001 Rockies payroll was quite a bit higher, but this year's team is by no means shedding the payroll. It should be noted that 19 of the members of the 2007 World Series team are still on the roster. However, it does show a commitment to running a smart business while still fielding a competitive team.

Another interesting fact about the Rockies going into this season was reported by Sports Illustrated. The Rockies own the lowest prices for premium tickets in the entire league. This is something to consider when the average ticket price for the new Yankees Stadium in New York is over $70 each.

At Coors Field, a family can still go to a baseball game and not have to take a second mortgage on their house to pay for it. In New York, going to a baseball game is a once a year treat for those who are not weathy. In Colorado, a fan can conceivably go to 20 games and sit in good seats.

In addition to that, the Rockies have started in the last two years to sign their young talent and buy them out of their arbitration years. This is something done in an effort to save some money on good players, while keeping them in a Rockies uniform for a few more years.

Deals like this have been signed by Troy Tulowitzki, Manny Corpas, Brad Hawpe, Aaron Cook and Ubaldo Jimenez. This gives the Rockies an opportunity to stay competitve for several years.

The final piece of evidence that the owners are looking to win and not simply line their pockets is the recent decision to put top prospect Dexter Fowler on the opening day roster. By simply starting him in Colorado Springs for two months, he would have to wait a full extra year before he would become arbitration eligible. Now Fowler will be eligible as what is called a "Super 2", someone who does not have three years of Major League service time, but has more than two years and therefore qualifies them for arbitration one year earlier.

This means that ownership is willing to burn potentially millions of dollars down the road in order to field the best team possible right now. That move alone should tell fans that the owners are truly concerned with putting a winning team on the field.

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